Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Frustrating RPG Design

I've been interested in RPG designs which often leads me to pick up a PDF of a game just to see how it was designed. I've recently done that with Ruin Master from RiotMind which is a bit of a blend of the OSR and Basic Role-Playing, but there are some places where they seem to pointedly ignore some of the recent innovations to the family of D100 games created by Chaosium's RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu.

Let me reiterate that these complaints are merely based on my opinions and this might be the game you have been waiting your whole life for.

For one thing, many of their bonuses and penalties are multiples of 5 and in my experience, many people are intimidated by double-digit arithmetic so why not keep their penalties (and bonuses) in increments of 10? If you are going to stick with multiples of 5 then why not use a D20 (which I believe they did with Trudavang).

I was also surprised that Ruin Master uses a version of the old Resistance Table which I have seen replaced with a blackjack-style solution where the highest successful roll wins.

Additionally, when casting spells you have to spend Magic Point and roll your Magic skill but receive a -5% to the chance per Magic Point spent. I get the impression that this is a low magic setting, but why require so much math? If you don't want magic to be prevalent don't provide spells we are all familiar with from every edition of DnD. For reference, a person's Magic skill at character creation will be from 40 to 60%.

I completely grok that everyone has specific tastes in their games I just don't see the point of making things so challenging to use Magic and fill the game system with, in my opinion, unnecessary complexity.

Apparently, I'm not Ruin Master's target audience and that's okay. Its a gorgeous book and for the right group an interesting streamlining of The Design Mechanism's Mythras and Chaosium's Magic World and RuneQuest: Glorantha.


WQRobb said...

I backed this game and after the very long wait finally had a chance to start looking at it. As a low-magic fantasy setting, it might have something to offer, but there are a lot of other options out there.

Cross Planes said...

I agree.

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